Riverview Ranch & Resort

Horse Ranch and petting farm

Horse/Pony/Unicorn Rides & Petting Zoo.

Pony Rides for kids and beginners who want to ride slow. Everything is slow, controlled, and safe.
Horseback Riding for Teens and Adults who want a little excitement can ride on a lunge line. One Rider at a time.
Free rein riding only for our students.
Strictly enforced 200 lb. weight limit for riding (50 lbs for mini-horse).

Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) for Adults, Teens and Seniors

For adults and teens we offer oppoirtunity to interact with, learn from, and bond with our horses in a unique way.

Horseback/Pony Rides/Petting Zoo, - Adult and Teen Activities, - Canoe/Kayak Tours/Rentals, - Meal with the Herd, - Senior Activities, - Photo Shoot
Activities are available for Overnight Guests and for Visitors with Appointment
We plan feeding schedules around appointments so horses are fed and calm when visitors meet them up close.
Outdoor Pony Rides Outdoor Pony Rides
Whatever the weather, there are always fun things to do at the ranch. Our 24,440 square foot equestrian center has a 60' x 160' indoor riding arena for riding on rainy days, and lots of animals for your family to meet in the indoor stables.
Get to Know our 6 full size Horses, Miniature Horse, Dogs, Goat, Miniature Pigs, Guinea Pigs, chickens, and ducks.
Get great photos of your family like these.

Horse/Pony/Unicorn Riding & Petting Zoo

Liability waiver required for all activities. ALL ADULTS MUST SIGN - whether riding or not! If you won't sign the waiver, please don't come onto the propterty.

Max Group size: 6 persons.
(Everyone over two years old who comes onto the property is counted in the group total, whether riding or not)
Pricing, Options, and FAQs

Call to reserve a time at 815-776-9945 - off or 608-331-0000 - cell.

Guests staying in our Resort can pet the wandering zoo any time the animals are available and may pet horses over the fence, but may not enter horse enclosures unescorted. The pigs and dogs wander in and out of the lobby often. The chickens, and ducks wander all around outside.
Wraingler Roger will give safety instructions and teach kids how to approach animals safely. It is best (safer) to come as a family unit. Kids tend to be more responsive to safety instructions when parents are nearby and attentive. If visitors do not respond to safety instructions we will limit or discontinue the experience. Stay alert, especially in horse enclosures, to the wrangler's instructions.

To make a reservation

first schedule an event with Wrangler Roger and then go to Payment page and pay for the event.

Therapeutic Horseback Riding (THR) and Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) have been shown to be beneficial to humans.

Galena Dude Ranch & Farm Stay

Just being around horses can decrease anxiety, increase self-esteem, and provides "excitement without stress." The sciense is very interesting and compelling.

"Peacefully interacting with horses may move people to a heightened receptive state that enhances non-verbal communication."

"Equine Therapy and Animal Therapy are proven methods of managing trauma and lowering stress."
CBS News report - Ukranians use horses to process trauma of war.

Read more

Horseback Riding and Critters

Horseback Riding and Goats
We give safe, slow horseback rides to beginners. Critters often follow us around. Pet the goats while your kids ride.

We begin by signing liability waivers and getting riders fitted for helmets. We'll meet the petting zoo until the horse is saddled. We will swap out riders periodically. How long does each rider get? That's up to you. If there are two riders we'll normally give two fifteen minute rides. If the visitors don't want to do the petting zoo we can ride for half an hour each. We're pretty flexible so just tell us what you want and we'll try to accommodate you. We take our cues from the kids and try to move along at their pace.

While the Wrangler is leading the horse with each rider the rest of the group will be watching, taking photos and petting our dogs, goats and other critters in the pasture. Feel free to walk alongside the horse to encourage riders or to take pictures. We take everything very slowly. Kids who are not riding may run around in open pastures and yell at the top of their lungs as long as they are responsive to safety instructions.
Say hello to Obelix, our baby miniature pig. Born on Feb 7, 2022. This is a video of 2 month old Obi dreaming of food.

No Open Toe Shoes!!!!!!

This 3 min video shows what you can expect when meeting the horses and goats in the pasture guided petting zoo. We no longer allow open toe shoes near horses. This video shows why. Bring shoes that will protect your toes. Seriously folks, don't wear open toe shoes around horses! You're going to want to keep your toes. Wrangler Roger never ever wears open toe shoes near horses. Neither should you.

Petting Farm
Take Bullseye, the mini-horse, for a family walk down beautiful River Road. Clippity clop clippity clop.

Petting Farm
Put a chicken on your shoulder and see your family's faces light up.

Petting Farm
Meet Aflac, Bflac, and Matilda. Did you know a male duck is called a drake and a female duck is called a duck? Aflac and Bflac are drakes and Matilda is a duck. Also pictured here are our young hens Carmel, Featherly, Speckles, and Sunshine.

Petting Farm
"Love is like playtime with a Dacshund. The more you give, the more you have to give." Wrangler Roger

Please, please, please watch out for the little dogs as you arrive and when you back out of your parking spot. They like to sit or stand behind car tires in driver blind spots.


New Arrivals: Our guinea pig, Penelope, gave birth to three healthy and super cute baby guinea pigs on 10/24/2020.

Galena Dude Ranch & Farm Stay
We have a miniature pig named Ferkelchen, born on 8/7/20. Her nickname is Kiki. This pig has been described as "Too Cute for this World." Also shown here is our Yorkie, Pepper.

Galena Dude Ranch & Farm Stay
Kiki loves food. You will see her wandering around looking for an unsecured bag of chicken food, duck food, horse food, dog food, or people food anywhere she can find it, including bags of trash carelessly left on the floor. But sometimes she likes to take a break from her strenuous search to enjoy a nice belly rub. If she plops over on her side in front of you she is saying she trusts you, and wants you to rub her tummy.

Petting zoo
Max, the Rooster, likes to Cocka-Doodle-Doo (Ki-kiri-ki in German). Strupel, the hen, lays green eggs for us.

Petting Zoo
The animals are often kept in the stalls. The goats, pig and dogs walk in and out of the horses' stalls and pastures.

Petting Farm
Our German Shepard, Bessie, keeps an eye on our menagerie rapscallion, Baltazaar the goat.

Chick on her shoulder This Mom has a chick on her shoulder.

Unicorn in Flight
Super Pig breaking the Snooze Barrier

Unicorn in Flight
F/A-18 breaking the Sound Barrier.

Liability Waiver
When you enter the barn you will see a poster of the Illinois Equine Activity Liability Act
Guests are not allowed in the barn or any of the horse enclosures unless escorted by a wrangler. Guests are asked not to enter any of the spaces labeled "private." These are the owner's living quarters and office.

Meal With The Herd

Outdoor Pony Rides
Help Feed the Horses - Walk among and pet them while they calmly finish their dinner - Enjoy a Delicious Meal of your own.

Our Horses

Outdoor Pony Rides
Our miniature horse "Bullseye" is sweet and wonderful with kids. He loves to have his mane combed and brushed. Foaled - April, 2009.

Horseback riding in Galena
Aiyasha - American Saddlebred / Akal Teke mix. Sweet and Beautiful. Gelding. Dam (Mother): Aiyana, Sire: Pascha (Nez Perce Dreamer) Inseparable from Aiyana, his Mommy. Foaled - April, 2007. Aiyasha is very gentle and loves to be petted, just like all our horses. We have trained the horses to allow small animals like goats, dogs, miniature pigs and small humans, to walk among them safely. We give guests a safety lecture before allowing them to enter horse enclosures. Guests are not allowed to enter horse enclosures unless they are accompanied by a wrangler. We plan guest visits around the feeding schedule so horses are always relaxed and well fed when guests enter their domain. We do not allow guests to hand-feed the horses unless specifically allowed and supervised by a wrangler, and never when guests are inside the horse enclosure.

Pony ride on a unicorn horse
*Two of our horses have rare blue eyes. We have troll friends who sell us pixie dust to magically transform a horse into a unicorn on special occasions. Pictured here is Lacy, our youngest Transformer-Unicorn. Lacy is a Quarter Horse / Akal Teke mix. Dam (Mother): Sisi, Sire (Father): Pascha (Nez Perce Dreamer) Foaled - July 2009.

blue eyed horse *Starsky is our other blue eyed horse. - Quarter Horse, Gelding. Dam (Mother): Sisi, Sire (Father): Sir Buck n Skip Foaled - 4/14/06

Ride a Transformer Horse Unicorn
Starsky (Star Skipper) can become a Unicorn for $20.

Unicorn in Flight
Warning: Flying on a Unicorn is considered extremely adventurous, so we do not allow children to ride our Unicorns in flight except in cases of extreme imagination;)

horses in petting zoo
We have eight horses. Come pet them while they vie for your affection from their stalls.

horseback ride no trail rides on Starbuck
Spirit - (Cool Starbuck) Quarter Horse - Dam (Mother): Sisi, Sire (Father): Sir Buck n Skip Foaled - 4/11/07

Friesian horse rides and petting farm, Valiant
Valiant Star - Friesian/Quarter Horse sport horse. Mare. Dam (Mother): Sisi, Sire (Father): Von Faust. Valiant is black in winter and bleaches dark brown in summer. Foaled - 4/18/05

Rosie loves horse grooming
Rosalie (Rosie) Throoughbred/American Saddlebred sport horse. Mare. Dam (Mother): Aiyana, Sire (Father): Movin to the Music (Winnings). Rosie was Foaled - April, 2007. We named our horse after a very dear family friend, Rosalie Joy Neckels, who passed away too young.

Aiyana boss mare horse riding
Aiyana - American Saddle Bred. Smooth riding gaited mare. Boss of the Herd. Foaled - 4/18/99. Aiyana is pictured here observing our lobby through the Peoplearium we have provided for the horses' amusement. Also pictured here is Sabina observing horses through the Equuarium in our lobby. Bringing the horses into our lobby through this unique plexiglass window helps us bond with the horses and helps them relate to us as part of the herd.

Snow Sledding

On snowy days our resort guests can borrow our snow sleds to slide down our sledding hills. This photo shows the north pasture hill with snow. Steep at top and shallow slope at bottom. We have a smaller hill on the south side. Aiyana boss mare horse riding
Ask about sledding behind a horse. Wrangler Roger can ride a horse and tow sledders behind the horse on a long rope.

Unicorn License
We are proud to have finally received our Official Unicorn License. Note: Aon-Adharcach is the Scottish Gaelic name for the unicorn. The guy who runs the local chapter of the Dept. of Unicorn Control happens to have the same name. What a coincidence! Now that we have been authorized officially, we can sponsor young persons who seek to have a unicorn in their back yard. Inquire with Wrangler Roger if your child would like to apply for a unicorn license. Remember, your child will need to promise to have a place with plenty of rainbows and sunshine, brush their unicorn's hair regularly, talk with the unicorn about hopeful things, and obey their parents. If your child meets these requirements we'll be glad to sponsor them for their own unicorn license. If you don't already have a real unicorn you can apply for a "preapproved" license so you will be ready to go when you do get one.

More photos showing what we do at Riverview Ranch.

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